Creativity is a quality more often associated with artists than engineers, but petroleum engineers need it— to develop new ways to extract oil and gas from below the Earth’s surface, and make old oil wells more productive. Oil and gas deposits reside deep in rock formations, accessible only by drilling wells on land or at sea. Petroleum engineers work with other scientists to map geological formations and determine drilling methods, design equipment, run the drilling plan, and monitor operations. These engineers analyze data to anticipate flaws or complications in a drilling plan before a project begins. They work hard to consider all potential issues, and to quickly address problems that do occur. Most petroleum engineers work in the oil industry… though some work in related manufacturing, or manage companies in the oil industry. They generally work in offices or research laboratories, as well as at drilling sites to monitor operations— often for extended periods. Petroleum engineers work around the world, and must work effectively with people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Full-time hours are typical, and overtime is common. Hours are longer at drill sites. Employers prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering, although some accept a degree in mechanical or chemical engineering as well.
What they do:
Devise methods to improve oil and gas extraction and production and determine the need for new or modified tool designs. Oversee drilling and offer technical advice.
On the job, you would:
Assess costs and estimate the production capabilities and economic value of oil and gas wells, to evaluate the economic viability of potential drilling sites.
Develop plans for oil and gas field drilling, and for product recovery and treatment.
Direct and monitor the completion and evaluation of wells, well testing, or well surveys.
Engineering and Technology
product and service development
computers and electronics
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
accounting and economics
Arts and Humanities
reading work related information
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
People and Technology Systems
figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it
thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
read and understand what is written
communicate by speaking
Ideas and Logic
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
notice when problems happen
pay attention to something without being distracted
do two or more things at the same time
choose the right type of math to solve a problem
People interested in this work like activities that include ideas, thinking, and figuring things out.
They do well at jobs that need:
You might use software like this on the job:
Analytical or scientific software
Financial analysis software
DFA Capital Management GEMS
GeoGraphix ARIES Portfolio
Graphics or photo imaging software
bachelor's degree usually needed
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.